Who’s Spending Time Watching Traditional TV – And How Does It Compare with Other Platforms?

September 29, 2021

Nielsen TV Platform Audience Age Distribution Sept2021Even as 1 in 5 adults ages 55 and older plan to “cut the cord” this year, older adults are still attached to traditional TV. June 2021 data from Nielsen reveals that adults 55+ dominate the total time spent watching linear TV.

Supporting earlier data from Nielsen showing that older adults (ages 50+) watched between about 5 and 6.5 hours per day in Q3 2020, this recent data from June 2021 indicates that although they account for less than one-third (31%) of the total minutes spent watching TV, 60% of the minutes spent with linear TV is by US adults ages 55+. Similarly, MarketingCharts’ US Media Audience Demographics report shows that adults ages 55+ were 16% more likely than the average adult to watch broadcast TV on a weekly basis.

Not only are older adults much more likely than other generations to watch linear TV, but they also make up a large portion of the time spent on other viewing platforms such as The Roku Channel (47%), Tubi (45%) and Amazon (37%), as well as MVPD/vMVPDs (45%). The only stand-out is Disney+, where adults ages 55+ account for a scant 9% of the total minutes spent on the platform.

Far behind the 55+ group, but nonetheless in the mix for traditional TV, are adults ages 35-54. Making up 26% of total TV universe time, this group accounts for about one-quarter (24%) of minutes spent with linear TV. Their attention appears to be divided across platforms, accounting for one-third of the total minutes on Amazon, Tubi and MVPDs/vMVPDs and about one-quarter (23%) on both The Roku Channel and Disney+.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, adults ages 18-34 are one of the least likely generations to spend time with linear TV. Despite representing about one-quarter (23%) of the TV Universe in terms of minutes watched, they constitute only 9% of the total minutes with linear TV. Instead, they’re likely to spend their TV time streaming on Disney+ (23% share of total minutes) or Amazon Prime (16%).

The youngest generation (ages 2-17) make up about one-fifth (21%) of time spent with TV. However, these younger viewers only account for 7% of total minutes with linear TV, while making up a whopping 44% of all the minutes spent with Disney+.

Race and Ethnicity Plays a Role in Viewing Choice

The report found that race and ethnicity also factor into linear TV viewership. Here is what the data reveals:

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the total minutes spent with TV is done by White audiences. And, while this group also makes up two-thirds of the minutes spent viewing linear TV, they also account for the majority share of minutes spent across all platforms reported on.
  • Black audiences – who account for 24% of all minutes viewed across all ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services – are more heavily represented time-wise in some streaming services than linear TV. While Black audiences accounted for 17% of the time spent with linear TV, they represented a far larger share of time spent with Tubi (39% of total minutes) and Pluto (36%).
  • Comprising 19% of the total US population, Hispanics make up a similar portion (18%) of time spent with the TV Universe. They account for only 12% of total time spent with linear TV. but spend a fair amount of time with Netflix and YouTube, accounting for 22% and 21%, respectively, of the total time spent with each platform.
  • Asian audiences make up only 5% of TV Universe time. They are most heavily represented in The Roku Channel (7% of total minutes) and YouTube (7%) and contribute only 3% of linear TV viewing minutes.

Read more here.

About the Data: Findings are based on Nielsen, National TV Panel and Streaming Meter Homes, Share of Total Weighted Streaming Minutes, P2+, Total Day, in June 2021.


Explore More Articles.

Marketing Charts Logo

Stay on the cutting edge of marketing.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This